Dare to love yourself

Birthday shoot!

Thirty four. It has been a journey. I feel like the first seventeen years were 80% bliss and 20% pain. The last seventeen are a bit different. I can’t say that they were baaaaad so different will do.

I am definitely not the person I was for the first half of my life. I have matured and learnt so much. I have been affected by the hurt as much as the joy, sometimes even more. Hurt is inevitable in life but it’s how we deal with it that makes a difference. For the majority of my teenage years and early twenties, I held a lot of emotions in. I started speaking out more after a while and now I’m labeled emotional. Usually I cringe but honestly, I don’t mind being emotional. I am passionate about things like my family, my close friends, my business and more, so it’s only normal to feel things deeply. When I am disappointed or hurt, I feel that deeply too because I try my best not to hurt or disappoint others.

I have even gone as far as putting my needs and wants aside for others because I cared about their needs more. This is definitely not where it is at. Although you should try to help others when/ if you can, you shouldn’t put their well being before yours. That’s a sure way of being disappointed. Another side effect of people pleasing is not actually knowing what you like. Before the birth of my son, I had a pretty decent list of things I liked. But now with two kids, it’s harder to find time for myself and the things I like. Plus COVID altered the world as we know it.

One of the challenges I have had since last year was the establishment of boundaries. Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits. Certain boundaries are easy to maintain, but there are so many little things that affect those boundaries. You may think it’s not a big deal to make an exception but then you may realize that the other person has taken the exception to be the rule and you have to reinforce the boundary again. Boundaries are there to protect us. There may be times when you set a boundary and someone gets upset. That’s not your problem.

As a people pleaser, you may think it’s not a big deal. But every time you push a boundary back for someone else, you are telling yourself that you are not worthy. Little by little, your self- worth will diminish and ultimately lead to making wrong choices. One way to remember your worth is to set healthy boundaries AND enforce them. People make mistakes and it may be that the person didn’t intentionally mean to hurt you but you should not be afraid to cut that person off if they continue to disregard your boundaries. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.

You set the standard for how others should treat you by how you treat and respect yourself. In life, there will be disagreements, some you will be able to resolve and others you won’t be able to. Ultimately every person has to remain true to themselves and their values. We can agree to disagree without it being an issue.

Be sure to take time to find yourself, understand who you are, what you like, dislike, what your triggers are and how to heal your trauma wounds. Make lists. Set boundaries. Honor yourself. And don’t be afraid to dig deep. Remember, you got this!

Stand firm in your choices…

Plans for good…

She laughs without fear of the future… if only I had known then how God was about to move in my life…

May 2020 was the start of my blog and as it gets closer, I am just excited. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would still be here writing content and that I would have followers so thank you to each and every one of you that is here.

I feel like the celebrations started in February and despite a small break in July will carry on until the end of the year. Birthdays are a big deal for me. I just enjoy the celebration of someone’s time on earth. Mine is next weekend and I am a bit anxious although I know there is nothing to be anxious about. First, it was deciding if I would even celebrate it, with COVID and all and then, what would I do?

If we start to worry about every minute detail, we will quickly become stressed and anxious. We cloud our minds with all of the possibilities. Half of the scenarios unlikely to play out in reality. We stress ourselves when we try to control everything or think that we must control everything. I think I mentioned it in one of my earlier blogs. Worrying only makes us go through it twice, once in our heads and once when it happens. If we are going to have to live through a specific scenario, why would we want to go through a difficult one twice, especially if there is nothing we can do to change it.

But are your really in control? For me, as I am on this spiritual journey, I know that God is in control. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be in control but I have learnt that there are some things I cannot control. I am also not meant to control those things. So when I start to feel flustered, I take a deep breath and ask myself if there is anything I can do to change the situation and if there isn’t, then I turn to God. (Spoiler alert: most times there isn’t) There are some things I can probably control but turning to God first has proven to be my best plan of action. In order to do that, you need to still the million of thoughts in your mind. If your mind is racing, you will not be able to receive the answer. Some people meditate, do yoga or practice conscious breathing.

Two scriptures stand out to me. Psalms 46:10: He says, “Be still and know that I am God” and Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still”. When things arise in our lives, usually bad, we sometimes run to God and lay it all bare. But my sis Audra mentioned the other day that while going through a difficult time of her own, she decided to be still on the matter. Bless her because I am sure I would have had to have a talk with God. But by remaining still, she was able to receive a message. And for me, I feel like God is telling us He is God and He knows everything and EVERYTHING in our lives will be used for our good. Even Peter would have benefited from being still but his denial was still ultimately used for his good.

I am currently reading Barack Obama’s book, “A promised land” and one of the lines that stood out was when he thought he might have been damaged. (Don’t quote me on this, I am paraphrasing) In life I hear so many people (myself included) wondering if there is something damaged or broken in them. And what I have learnt is that God takes those same people and uses them. I doubt many of us would even think about Barack Obama as damaged. He was the first African American to serve as President of the United States and not just for one term but two. Also while reading about his campaign, things seemed to fall into place for him. I believe we are all born for the times we are in. Our purpose is connected to our now. A lot of times we wonder if we weren’t meant for another time. But there is no other time but now.

There are things within us that don’t reside in others. There are things we must say and do that no one else can say or do. There are also people we can reach who others cannot. So if you are worried about your purpose or if you are meant to be here or if you can overcome that hurt, or anything you can imagine, I am asking you to take a moment, be still and know that God is in control. You got this! Stop trying to do everything and give it to God.

I am currently on a social media fast for Lent and I am not sure how many people will read this but if you are reading this, this is your sign. Let go and let God.

It is never too late to start something new

It feels like it has been forever since I shared my thoughts. Life got a bit hectic and I was focused on being present in the moments. My daughter was able to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion two weeks ago and last weekend was stock full of celebrations. My goddaughter turned one and had a cute flamingo and pineapple themed birthday party. I attended a baby shower and a very close friend’s daughter (my second daughter) also received the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Holy Communion usually takes place in May but due to COVID-19, things were postponed. I actually didn’t expect them to be able to receive the sacrament this year. In September we received notification that they would proceed but in keeping with social distancing and other COVID-19 preventative measures. Luckily her dress was already bought since March. Before you receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, you have the act of Reconciliation, which is confession. The girls were excited for their Communion but slightly nervous of about confession. I feel like we all feel a bit nervous when it’s time to confess our own sins. Although God is a forgiving God, knowing we did something that would not please Him, makes us a little anxious.

I feel like my weekends were fresh starts. Confessing your sins and asking for forgiveness. The pending birth of a healthy baby, and the celebration of life. The girls started a new chapter in their religious lives and I pray that they will continue to nurture and grow their relationship with God. My goddaughter is one and she has so much life to live. She is going to learn so much within the next year. The beautiful thing is that everyone was surrounded by love those weekends.

Don’t be afraid to take the next step and do something different. No matter what age we are or where we are, we can always start a new chapter in our lives. Surround yourself with the right people and go for it! I feel like we are always molding our futures. I mentioned in two interviews that when I started Tropsical, a lot of the things I needed, I had actually purchased two years prior. For two years they were reminders of something that was on hold but when it was GO time, they were already there. The relationships that have helped grow my business were relationships I nurtured before the idea of the business.

We try to rush things and we want to be successful overnight but that isn’t the way. Most people will tell you it takes some time. What you see as overnight success is usually the build up of multiple years of hard work. If you have a dream but you’re worried that you don’t have the finances, please just write your dream down. Write it down and then break it down into baby steps. Be very detailed about all that you think you will need. Then start working on ticking those things off. You may skip some “easy” ones but over time you will realize you are acquiring the things you need.

Also, find a small group of people who truly support you and share some of your ideas with them. They may have creative ways to overcome some of the hurdles. They may even inspire you to change things up a bit but they will also offer support when you are feeling down. Your support group may also make necessary connections that you need to move forward. They are an extension of your network. Networking really gets the ball rolling. Don’t always be afraid to share your challenges, because someone in your circle may just have the solution for you.

This week take some time to write down your goals and your plans, visualize them and start laying the foundation. Don’t be afraid to start a new chapter in your life. It may be the best one yet! Remember, you got this!

The rainbow always comes after the rain. Some times you just have to look a little harder!

Fear less…

As human beings we tend to worry about things. As time goes by and we get older, we worry about so much more. As kids our fears are usually simple, the fear of the dark or the fear of the boogey man. There are rational and irrational fears. But for someone with an irrational fear, that fear is real for them. Fear has allowed us to avoid danger and survive but fear can also paralyze us. FOMO or fear of missing out was trending a while back and for me, I have had to remind myself that what is truly for me will not pass me by. With everything happening in the world these past few years, you see more people suffering from anxiety.

I love flying so when I meet someone with a flying phobia, I have to take a step back and understand what they are going through. It’s not that I have not thought about what could go wrong, but in this scenario, I feel like the benefits outweigh the negative. I use the time to read or watch a movie or catch up on some work. For others, it is a horrifying time. On the other hand, I have arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Logically I know the possibility of a spider jumping on me and biting me is low but my heart starts beating out of my chest when I see one. Had I been on that season of America’s Next Top Model, I would have quit the moment they brought those spiders out.

Our phobias are easy to discuss. But the fears that really hold us back are whispered in therapy sessions. I have been hearing people mention the fear of failure more often. Failure is so subjective and determined by our own expectations. Has someone failed because they did something different to how it has always been done? Has someone failed because they did not complete a 4 year degree in 4 years? What really is failure? I may have a goal of owning a mansion, whereas someone else may want a condo. We all have private battles to fight and for some, just getting out of bed may be an accomplishment.

We can be so afraid of failure, that we do not even try. Have you ever seen a vacancy ad and talked yourself out of applying? Or you turned down an opportunity because you were not ready or was just unsure? We are so full of potential but sometimes the fear of disapproval from our family and friends stops us. It’s normal for fear to stop us in our tracks, but it is also OK for us to challenge it. Everything begins with a thought and that’s amazing. We can control our thoughts. It takes a lot of effort and discipline but we can. The next time you feel anxious, ask yourself what is causing you to feel that way. Ask yourself if the thought has any truth to it. Ask yourself what’s the worst case scenario? (Spoiler alert, the answer ultimately is death but you will die some day any way)

Use your fears to challenge yourself. Push yourself to your limits and see how far you can go. Put in the effort that is needed and then add a bit more. Chances are you will excel. If you do something and you are not perfect at it the first time, then try again. Trial and error can result in success if you do not give up. We were not meant to be worry warts. We were given a spirit of power, love and discipline. Sometimes we forget our power and fear creeps in like fog. Reminding ourselves of the truth and focusing on the good, helps us to dispel the fog of fear. Start with the seemingly small things to build your confidence.

If we allow fear to stop us from even trying then we are robbing ourselves of our lives and dreams. Some things are meant to be done while scared. Trust yourself, trust that inner voice and keep your eye on the prize. Once we reach the end goal, we may look back and realize it wasn’t as scary as we thought it would be. If you don’t go for it, you will never get it.